On June 25, 1962, my father-in-law, who was a pastor, wrote a tract entitled, “The Day America Died.” That was the day that the United States Supreme Court banned prayer from public school, soon followed on June 17, 1963, with the ban on Bible reading.
Two bodies of evidence demonstrate that he was right.
David Barton in his excellent book, America: To Pray? or not to Pray? (Amazon link), provides a series of charts displaying drastic downward societal trends related to every area of American life beginning almost precisely at that point in our history. An update would reveal a worsening in many of these areas.
Another line of support for the death of America with the banning of prayer and Bible reading from public schools resides in tragic historical developments beginning at that point. Let me list a few. You can probably think of more.
- President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Some see this as a major downward turning point in our history. It brought us President Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society, which has had a drastically negative impact on our country both sociologically and economically.
- In the late 60s we find the “Summer of Love” and “Woodstock,” bringing us the hippie movement, which brought with it devastating sexual moral decline, drugs, an antiauthoritarian attitude, and other negative trends.
- Drugs continue to be a major societal problem in America, now worsened by the legalization of marijuana.
- Abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. Since then about 66 million innocent unborn children have been murdered legally in our nation.
- In the 1970s we lost the Vietnam War. The war was not actually lost militarily but politically under the influence of Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Walter Cronkite, and other media figures that opposed this effort at every turn.
- Our space program that led the world is now in shambles.
- During the intervening years no-fault divorce became prevalent, making marriage, which is life’s most profound contract also the one that can be broken without penalty. (Divorce has tremendous costs, but in most states they are not aimed specifically at the one who broke the contract.) This has led to America becoming the divorce capital of the world.
- America has become the prime smut propagator of the world through its licentious movies, television programming, music, and video games.
- During the presidency of John Kennedy America enjoyed balanced budgets. We have moved from that expression of fiscal responsibility to the economic recklessness practiced by our federal government today.
- Homosexuality is now celebrated within our society, and at this writing homosexual marriage is being judicially forced on many states in opposition to the will of the people. This is resulting in tremendous societal upheaval as evidenced in such initiatives as the push for transgenders to use bathrooms and even shower rooms of those of the opposite biological sex.
- Our military and other elements of our defense, which at one point were unquestionably the world’s greatest, are being rapidly outpaced by the Russians and Chinese.
- The last, and perhaps greatest tragedy to befall America resides in the twice election of President Barack Obama. His trashing of our form of government, incessant lies to the American people, support of pro-Muslim initiatives and hostility toward Israel, ObamaCare, refusal to protect our borders, use of the bureaucracy to assault his enemies and advance his purposes, and many other initiatives harmful to our country have a strong degenerative effect on every aspect of American life. The complicity of Congress (including Republican leadership), the Supreme Court, and the news media result in his capacity to implement his destructive programs virtually without opposition.
This list contains a massive amount of decline for one nation to experience in just a little over half a century. This decline began when America was at its very peak. Therefore, we have good reason to view those decisions by the Supreme Court as its cause.
One might ask the connection between banning prayer and Bible reading from schools and the catalog of decline listed above. I believe that beginning each school day with Bible reading and prayer genuinely made a difference in the minds and hearts of impressionable young people. Today I can still quote Psalm 24 because I had a sixth grade teacher who liked that Psalm, and so we read it frequently. In young minds, this content sticks. In addition, beginning with the school day with prayer and Bible reading reminded students of the existence of a God who told us how to live and to whom one day we would answer. That affects one’s approach to life.
However, America has sustained an even more adverse effect from banning prayer and Bible reading from our public schools. In Romans 1 we find the apostle Paul teaching that God responded to those who rejected Him by taking His hand of guidance and blessing off them, turning them over to their own devices. After God had been so abundantly good to this country, blessing us more than any other nation that ever existed, we showed our gratitude by running Him out of our public schools. Since we chose to reject Him, He has left us to try it on our own, and as we can see, that is not working out very well.
America’s resurrection can only occur by returning to the root of the problem, America’s confession of its grievous sin in rejecting God, restoring Him to the public square, and again committing ourselves to His righteous standard. As we consider the forces controlling America today we realize that this can only occur through a massive revival that would reignite spiritual commitment in a significant segment of America’s population. Better people in office will prevent America’s dead body from decaying quite as quickly, a form of political cryogenics, but only a genuine national return to the Lord will result in its resurrection.